Can Americans Visit Cuba?

Cuba brims with a unique blend of retro cars, colonial architecture and picturesque beaches, it’s no wonder everyone wants to experience this country for themselves. For Americans however, access to Cuba over the decades has been rocky to say the least. Luckily in recent years it’s become increasingly easier to travel to Cuba. Here we cover all you need to know about travelling to Cuba with an American passport.

Are Americans even allowed to go to Cuba?

Yes you can! Though not with as much ease as other countries, Americans are absolutely able to visit Cuba with a few additional steps. Whilst Cuba welcomes Americans into the country, the US has still placed restrictions on what Americans can do there. As long as you’re not a business looking to do trade, you will mainly be okay.

Using excellent preparation and lots of foresight, visiting Cuba as an American isn’t as difficult as it used to be.

Can Americans travel to Cuba during COVID?

In short, yes you can! Though there are an number of COVID restrictions still in place across the country, it’s still open for visitors. Cuba is open for travel to American airline passengers that are able to show a negative COVID-19 test.

To get into Cuba you will need to follow a few steps:

  • You will need to do a PCR test within 72 hours before flying from a licensed health care provider or public health official.
  • You also need to fill out a health declaration before you go.
  • When you arrive in Cuba you must take another mandatory PCR test.
  • If tested negative upon arrival you will be given an option to stay in a government isolation facility or a hotel for a five day isolation period.
  • On the fifth day of isolation you will need to take another test. If this test comes up negative you are free to end the 5 day isolation period.
  • Prepare to be fined if you don’t comply to the isolation period.

How can Americans travel to Cuba?

Until recently, Americans only option when flying to Cuba would be to find a connecting flight through Mexico, Canada or any other close by locations. But recent changes in policy means that commercial flights from the US to Cuba are no longer prohibited and you now fly directly into Mexico from selected airports in the US.

Do you need a Visa?

If you’re an American travelling to Cuba you will need to obtain a VISA. You can either do this in advance or obtain one once you arrive at Havana airport. You can currently obtain a VISA to Cuba by getting a general license for the following:

  • Travel
  • Family visits
  • Official Government business
  • Journalistic activity
  • Professional research
  • Educational activities
  • Religious activities
  • Athletic competitions
  • Humanitarian projects

Are there restrictions?

In Cuba, there are many business that are government owned and therefore have made it onto the US governments restricted list. Due to this, direct financial transactions for Americans are a no go. Places with restrictions might include:

  • Certain hotels
  • Holding companies
  • Tourist agencies
  • Marina
  • Stores in Old Havana

For this reason, we recommend taking out cash and planning ahead to save the hassle.

How do I spend money in Cuba?

Technically speaking, it’s illegal for American debit or credit cards to be used and many Cuban businesses will reject them. It’s highly recommended that you take out the appropriate amount of cash prior to visiting Cuba. Try to have higher expectations on how much you will spend to avoid running short on cash!

Should I bring American dollars or Cuban?

As mentioned, American credit or debit cards won’t work in Cuba so it’s advised to bring cash instead. Cuba has two different currencies: the Cuban convertible peso which equates to the American dollar and the Cuban Peso which is what locals use. There’s a 10% free for exchanging the American dollar, so it’s a good idea to exchange your money ahead of time.

Is doing a tour in Cuba worth it?

Absolutely. Travel Talk Tours offer a range of tours that can speak to all your senses. Booking a tour is a great way to meet new people, get local recommendations and follow the unbeaten path. If you’re planning to visit Cuba as an American, it’s a good call to have an itinerary ready to avoid any unnecessary hassle. A tour saves you the trouble of figuring out prohibited transactions and helps you to plan well ahead. Be sure to check out our Cuba tours here.

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